Showing posts from March, 2014

Edible Flowers

The cold is still with us, warmer today but temperatures are below normal for the season.

 Do you plant edible flowers? If so, in with the vegetables, the flower garden or on their own? What flowers do you use? I usually add nasturtiums and borage to my vegetable garden.

It is Always Gardening Season

This is a harsh winter. I use winter, because while it is officially spring, the 15 foot snow mound, almost, reaches the top of the apple tree in the backyard, and the winter blows strong and cool. It feels more like Early February than Late March.
Surprisingly, I am not down in the dumps or suffering cabin fever. As I walked along Roseberry Street this morning, I realized I was enjoying the day. The air was fresh and clean; a bit damp, heralding the snow that fell a few hours later.
The sun, when out is strong, the air gradually warming. I do miss the gladiolus and crocuses often seen by now. They will be late this year, but their vibrant colours will warm our hearts when they begin to peek out from under the snow.
Regardless of the weather, it will not be time to start seed indoors, for at least three weeks. I suggest April 26 for those who must have a date. Most vegetable seeds and seedlings will not see the earth until nearly six weeks later, about June 9. So why be glum. Life is to…

Free Food: Coltsfoot

Coltsfoot looks at first glance like a dandelion, but look closer and you notice the differences.

Coltsfoot or Tussilago farfara L is one of the first plants to flower after the winter. They come out about the same time as the crocuses and add their bright yellow to an otherwise still brown landscape.
The name, Tussilago, comes from the Latin tussis, meaning cough. This plant is aptly named as coltsfoot has long been used as a cough syrup. 

Coltsfoot is a member of the Asteraceae family and is a perennial with an unusual growth habit. A single flower head appears in the early spring and coltsfoot is often mistaken for a dandelion.  It is fairly simply to identify, though, as there is little else growing at the time it first appears.

The seed head of the coltsfoot plant does bear a resemblance to the seed head of a dandelion, however, the flower of coltsfoot usually has died down by the time the dandelion appears. The leaves appear after the flower stem dies. This aids in identification.

Orange and Yellow


Summer Will Come


Dandelions: Yummy

Dandelions, the most misunderstood and under-appreciated “weed’ in the world, well that may be a bit over the top, but you get my drift.

This is urban food foraging at its most basic. You may not even have to leave your own property to gather this most versatile plant. If you are a home owner and have a lawn, the odds are good you have a handy supply of dandelions.

Now you may have spent hours, each summer, in vain attempts to make the dandelion go away, but somehow, no matter what you do it keeps coming back.

Now you can give up the struggle and start reaping the rewards that nature has been putting in front of you for all those years and rather than doing battle, go and get some supper.

Dandelion greens are one of the season’s first edible arrivals and the ragged leaves add a distinctive appearance to the meal. They are best picked when young. Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid and vitamin C.

What looks like a dandelion, arrives even ea…

The Home Vegetable Garden News: March 23

" Organic gardening is wonderfully therapeutic and anyone can do in order to relax. "

The Home Vegetable Garden News

Tractor Clearing Rotary Peace Park site


Knowledge and Observation

To answer my questions from yesterday. My favourite garden tool is my brain. My 2nd favourite garden tool is knowledge.

Knowledge is gained from experience and for anyone who wants to grow things, the best experience comes from, first observing the site were the garden will be, then interacting with the soil, seeds, seedlings and all the other beings who make a garden thrive.

Books, workshops and video provide information that feeds your knowledge.

Most Important Garden Tool

Today, I have two questions for you;

1- What is your favourite garden tool?

2- What is a gardener's 2nd  most important garden tool

Tree Planting in Rotary Peace Park


From A Neighbour's Garden 2012


Container Salad Greens Garden

Green food, lettuces, kale and so on are great food and easy to grow.

Container Salad Greens Garden

Social Networks for Gardeners

When the Internet evolved from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, and social
networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and more recently Twitter grew, the gardeners where there, exchanging everything from advice to zucchini.

Gardeners abound on these sitesand the dialogues have the same passion and fire as they always do when people committed to a pursuit, hobby or obsession, gather.

While gardeners can find one another, which is one of the reasons underlying social networks on sites that attract people with a wide array of interests and activities, there are social network that are created for gardeners and by gardener.

Kitchen Gardeners International is designed for gardeners who grow their own food and who are excited about doing so. Their motto is promoting the local-est food of all, globally. The forums are chock full of great information, easy to use and often accompanied by pictures. Overall the interface is friendly and simple to use.

Social Networks for Gardeners

How Secure is Your Food Supply?

When will your cupboard run bare if the trucks or rail cars do not make it into town?

Food is a commodity. This means it is bought and sold in a marketplace. This is a good way to do business, as long as all the participants have the means to shop, and buy the food their bodies and minds demand. 

Unfortunately, many families cannot feed themselves on the income they receive each month, and the money often runs out before the month does.

How Secure is Your Food Supply?

Permaculture: An Introduction

"Just take a minute and imagine a world where people take responsibility for what they do and what they consume. Rather than buying items produced using toxic materials, and tossing away whatever we cannot consume, after the items have been trucked hundreds, and thousands of miles, from where they were produced to where you bought, you buy food and clothing, for example, that was produced within a few miles of your own home or by you. "

Permaculture: An Introduction

The Versatile Sunflower

From children’s forts to cleaning up radioactive waste, sunflowers are a very versatile and beautiful plant.

Floating rafts of sunflowers were used to clean up water contaminated as a result of the 1986 accident at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the former Soviet Union. The roots of the sunflower plants remove 95% of the radioactivity in the water by pulling contaminants out of the water.

There are even giant sunflower competitions just as there are giant pumpkin competitions.

All the gardens that I have created for either myself or others have all had at least one sunflower; this includes balcony gardens. Mind you the ones that I grew on the balcony where a miniature hybrid not the up to twenty foot tall monster that grabs your attention in later summer.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus ) is an annual herb that can withstand mild frost as a seedling, but requires at least 100 frost free days for normal development. Intolerant of shade, sunflowers can be successfully culti…

Peace Park Willow


Spring: The Garden Awakens

The cold temperatures belie the approach of Spring, but the warm sun when the wind is blokced screams, soon, soon.

Spring, even when the cold winds blows and I wonder if a real warm and sunny day will ever arrive, is the season of renewal. The time when the green awakes and colour begins to emerge. 

I enjoy seeing the first spring bulbs break through the ground with their purple and yellow flowers standing out against the brown and often white. The snow is still on the ground here when these brave beings venture forth. 

This year the crocuses were covered my snow twicebut that snow served as a warm blanket to protect them against the cold night. 

The crocuses are spreading across the side yard as they are meant to; located between the house and the driveway, they have their own ecosystem to allow them to flourishand they are ready to greet the visitor.

The Backyard Classroom

The backyard classroom offers lessons in botany, biology and entomology. Plant and insect identification helps your child understand the other creatures that live in the backyard and gain an awareness of what an ecosystem is.

Children could also write or draw their experiences thus learning some basics skills in expression and communication.

I have frequently referred to a lawn as a waste of space that would be put to better use when food rather than grass is grown. However, I have also made exceptions when it comes to children as they need a safe place to play a place where their minds can soarand creativity emerge.

This outdoor classroom is right out your back door, that’s right, the back yard. In the yard, children can play and allow their minds to transport them to wherever the game takes them.

Now, because there are children playing and learning in this outdoor classroom, hopefully, no one has sprayed any toxic chemicals to kill the weeds or insects that live there.

Not only …

Raised Beds

The beds are ten feet by 4 feet and 2 feet deep, approximately. They are made from untreated wood.

How To Garden in Small Spaces

Small spaces may present some gardening challenges but with a bit of planning and careful thought you can create a great garden in the tiniest of places. Be it backyard, balcony, or rooftop, the space can be transformed into a green oasis.

To get started ask yourself the following questions:
How do you currently use the space? Is it a quiet getaway; a place for you children to play, or pets to roam, for entertaining?What do you want to grow, herbs, flowers, annuals, perennials, shrubs, fruit tees, vegetables?Thinking about a water feature?Do you use it as an outdoor office?Once you have answered these questions, here are a few more to ponder.
How much money are you willing to spend, on hardscaping, plants, watering system and d├ęcor, lights, garden art?How much time do you have to look after your garden?What specific challenges do you need to address, sunlight blocked by nearby buildings for example, ugly view?Measure the space and draw a plan. You do not need to be an artist but setti…

Create an Organic Garden in 10 Steps

Organic gardening is so basic, anyone can create a garden where plants thrive, flower and bear fruit. 

Gardening is a simple and straightforward activity, it is not necessary to understand the science involved, however, it is important to use an organic process.

All you need to do to grow flowers, herbs and vegetable, organically, is follow these ten steps.

1.      Put the right plant in the right place. In other words, make sure the plant you choose is placed where it gets the amount of sunlight it requires as well as the water and food needed for strong growth.
2.      Do the above in the planning stage so you know what you are going to do before the actual planting, what you will plant, where you will plant it.
3.      Organic gardeners feed the soil because healthy soil will produce healthy plants. One of the most effective ways to build healthy soil is to add organic material, such as compost to the soil.
4.       Mulch, proper mulching prevents weeds from taking over your garden and t…

PJ and The Circle Garden

This garden was located on the outskirts of Thunder Bay and was a no dig bed.